INTER SPEM ET METUM at the 60th edition of the traditional Venice Biennale

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On the last working day of 2023, we bring good news. It is a special honor and pleasure to inform you that this time too, the trust to be the bearers of the national flag at the prestigious event with a 120-year history, La Biennale di Venezia, was granted to us as an institution for the 9th time.

At the 60th art session of the Venice Biennale 2024, the Republic of North Macedonia will be represented by the project INTER SPEM ET METUM, (Between hope and fear), by our artist Slavica Janeshlieva. The commissioner of the project is Dr. Dita Starova Qerimi, director of the NU National Gallery of the Republic of North Macedonia, and the curator is Dr. Ana Frangovska, senior curator at the National Gallery of Macedonia. The location of the pavilion is the same as the last two sessions of the 59th art exhibition, as well as the last architectural edition, i.e. Scuola dei Laneri, located in an excellent and busy location Santa Croce 131 A.

This year’s theme of the 60th edition of the traditional, prestigious Venice Biennale, in the fine arts discipline, is “Foreigners Everywhere” or STRANIERI OVUNQUE – FOREIGNERS EVERYWHERE, curated by Adriano Pedrosa. As the curator himself says, the concept refers to the global situation characterized by numerous crises related to the movement of individuals across countries, nations, territories and borders. These crises highlight the dangers and challenges associated with language, translation and ethnicity, and reveal the variations and inequalities influenced by factors such as identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, wealth and freedom.

Brief description of the project

The INTER SPEM ET METUM concept developed by Slavica Janešlieva through its contextual-visual panopticon starts from Hans Christian Andersen’s simple children’s fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling” from 1844, which is so important for the proper development of children’s psychology, as one of the first moral stories of childhood is so crucial in developing adults’ awareness of their own capacities, values and peculiarities. Known all over the world, and even often used to teach foreign languages to immigrants moving to another country. The story “The Ugly Duckling” has not faced otherness/difference, the feeling of being a stranger since childhood. That is, the acceptance or non-acceptance of the different. Whether the diversity is gender, appearance, appearance, behavior, disease, nationality, religion, language, political belief… Are we born with consciousness of nationality, religion, language?

Isn’t this the ideal we all strive for when it comes to multidimensional beauty? We all have ugly parts that we have to face again and again. We all feel alone in the world at one point or another. Then one day we don’t come out so beautiful on the outside, but start radiating a sense of belonging from the inside. We realize that there is a place for us on this planet, a place that has been waiting for us all along. We see that our fears are nothing but shadows.

This conceptual matrix quite adequately touches on the idiosyncretism of the STRANGER everywhere, in me, in you, in them, in us.

As a reminder, our previous presentations:

1997 – 47th Biennale in Venice, “Macedonia before Gjoto – Macedonia today”, Aneta Svetieva;

2001 – 49th Venice Biennale, “Night visions”, Jovan Shumkovski;

2003 – 50th Venice Biennale, “Integralisms”, Zhaneta Vangeli;

2009 – 53rd Venice Biennale, “50 or 50”, Gotse Nanevski;

2011 – 54th Biennale in Venice, “Dossier – Tow Truck”, Collective “Zero”;

2013 – 55th Venice Biennale, “Silentio Patologia”, Elpida Hadji Vasileva;

2015 – 56th Biennale in Venice, “We are all alone in this”, Hristina Ivanoska and Jane Chalovski;

2022 – 59th Venice Biennale, “Landscape Experience” by Robert Jankuloski and Monica Moteska

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